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Kyle Busch wins GEICO 500 at Talladega

Kyle Busch celebrates in Talladega Superspeedway’s victory lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500, April 23, 2023. Photo: Jeff Ames/TRE

Kyle Busch won Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway over Ryan Blaney under caution after a last-lap wreck.

Busch and Blaney bested Chris Buescher, Chase Briscoe, Brad Keselowski, Erik Jones, William Byron, Christopher Bell, Daniel Suarez and Todd Gilliland in 10th, with J.J. Yeley in 11th.

Busch won after staying out ahead of the second overtime. Crew chief Randall Burnett wanted Busch to pit but the message didn’t translate to the two-time Cup Series champion pitting.

“We were obviously short on fuel, kind of stretching it. I don’t think we would have taken that chance, I probably wouldn’t have taken that chance of staying out but for the win in Fontana. That opened up our playbook, gave us a chance to be up front, restart up front and go for a win today,” Busch said post-race.

The champion held on as Ryan Blaney pushed Bubba Wallace by.

“I could have turned up to get in front of him and tried to block but my stuff would not take pushes anyways. I was not going to put myself in a spot where I was going to try to take one,” Busch said. “I just let those guys go by and say we’ll sort it out down the backstretch and see what happens. We have four more corners to see what happens in this race, two and a half more miles.”

In the very first of four corners, Blaney tried to maneuver by Wallace. Wallace blocked Blaney twice and wrecked after an attempted third block.

That opened the door for Kyle Busch to get his 62nd career NASCAR Cup Series win.

Kyle Busch stands in victory lane with his son, Brexton, after winning the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, April 23, 2023. Photo: Jeff Ames/TRE

“Races, they’re all hard to win, but especially speedway races. You got 30 guys that have a legit shot to win, barring different circumstances. There were some wrecks in front of us today but we were able to squeak through, not get caught up in it fortunately. We’ll take this one, for sure,” Busch said.

It’s Busch’s second Talladega win and first since April 2008. It’s also his third drafting track win in the Cup Series and first since Daytona in July 2008.

Busch has yet to win a drafting track race under green in the Cup Series.

The NASCAR Cup Series field races in the Talladega Superspeedway tri-oval, April 23, 2023, in the GEICO 500. Photo: Jeff Ames/TRE

Sunday’s race featured eight cautions.

In stage one, Michael McDowell blew a left-rear tire in turn four and spun on lap two. McDowell never recovered, as he finished 35th, seven laps down.

Also in stage one, Chase Briscoe spun on lap 41 while pitting with the other Fords. Tyler Reddick also spun while pitting with the other Toyotas.

Stage two ran caution-free.

STAGE ONE RESULTS: Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, Ross Chastain, William Byron, Kyle Larson, Austin Cindric, Noah Gragson, Joey Logano, Ryan Preece, Daniel Suarez

STAGE TWO RESULTS: Aric Almirola, Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, Bubba Wallace, Harrison Burton, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Preece, Denny Hamlin, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Noah Gragson

Stage three saw the intensity and ramp up and a multi-car wreck on lap 143. The wreck involved Austin Dillon, Austin Hill, Todd Gilliland and Noah Gragson who bumped Harrison Burton who made an impressive save in turn 3.

Zane Smith was also involved and destroyed his car along with Dillon.

On lap 185, Joey Logano moved to the outside lane, setting off a multi-car wreck. The wreck also collected Corey LaJoie, Harrison Burton, Ricky Stenhouse Jr and Daniel Suarez.

Burton wrecked out and didn’t earn a top-10 finish for the 10th time this season, despite leading nine laps.

During the first overtime attempt, Noah Gragson led the outside lane with Ross Chastain pushing him. Meanwhile, Ryan Blaney led the inside lane with Aric Almirola pushing him.

Chastain pushed Gragson, then moved to the middle lane when he saw a hole open up. The move set off another multi-car wrecking that sent Gragson into Almirola and into the outside wall.

Kyle Larson spun trying to avoid the wreck, then spun up the track into Ryan Preece. Preece T-boned Larson, pushing the passenger rollbar in on Larson’s car.

Preece and Gragson didn’t finish and failed to score a top-10 finish again this year after running in there at several points in the race.

The wreck set up another overtime restart.

Coming to the white flag, Ryan Blaney pushed Bubba Wallace by Kyle Busch. Blaney moved to the bottom of Wallace, who blocked Blaney twice then spun the third time he blocked.

Wallace spun into Brad Keselowski and set off another multi-car wreck, while Kyle Busch eeked out a win.

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